10.0 Data expressions
Like the hieroglyphs of the ancients, code is a touchstone that shapes and forms our comprehension of the world today.
There’s an art and a science to designing with data, with innumerable languages, ways of querying code and running command scripts now at our disposal.
Just a few short years in from the beginning of this digital era, the choices on offer are rich and varied as to how we express ourselves digitally.
This section of Emergent code looks at some of the ways we can use data to reshape our world. If we choose, we can do this as artists as part of a 2.0 Renaissance, learning from and using metrics and data to design better human experiences.
Today only a tiny percentage of people today know how to read and write code. That will change, in the way that writing now is no longer the preserve of a few.
The speed at which learning and knowledge is accelerating. It’s about to become exponential, thanks to YouTube, Moocs, live streaming and the sharing of information on social networks. It’s a shift we’re not yet prepared for.
Currently, technical abilities have been unleashed far greater than our skills to use them to their full advantage. But with storytelling and with statistics, our comprehension of what is going on around us is beginning to be shaped by data.
As Jack Dorsey tweeted when Twitter turned nine years old recently, the act of journaling is the APIs that have helped digital networks spread their messages and impact across the world.
What is being told, and how it is being told, are two facets as important as each other in thinking about data as content, structured data and unstructured data, and how each can produce very different outcomes.
The phrase ‘lies, damned lies, and statistics”, was first said by Leonard H. Courtney, who went on to become the president of the Royal Statistical Society.
Here, I look at the history and etymology of data expression, from the ritual and symbolism of map making and the earliest writing systems types to code such as logography and digital protocols.